Co-Creating Inclusive Active Spaces: Empowering Teen Girls through Digital Interventions

PhD Classic Doctoral Training Grant Funding Information 

This funding model includes a 36 month fully funded PhD Studentship, in-line with the Research Council values, which comprises a tax-free stipend paid monthly (2024/5 - £19,237) per year and a Full Time Fee Scholarship for up to 3 years, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD. 

All applicants will receive the same stipend irrespective of fee status.

Application Closing Date: 

23:59 on Tuesday 30th April 2024 for a start date of the 2nd September 2024.

How to Apply 

To apply, please complete the project proposal form,ensuring that you quote the project reference, and then complete the online application where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement as a pdf document. 

You will also be required to upload two references, at least one being an academic reference, and your qualification/s of entry (Bachelor/Masters certificate/s and transcript/s).  

Project Title: Co-Creating Inclusive Active Spaces: Empowering Teen Girls through Digital Interventions

Project Lead: Dr Silvia Gullino  

Project Description

The proposed project aims to co-produce more equitable, inclusive, and active urban spaces with teenage girls through digital methods and interventions. The project acknowledges that cities are often designed by able-bodied white men for men, resulting in exclusive and dominantly masculine spaces that hinder the engagement of women and girls. The project seeks to address this issue by conducting co-production workshops with teenage girls to redesign existing and active green space. The research will involve the use of digital tools and techniques such as 3D scanning, augmented reality, and virtual reality to involve the girls in the design process and create new digital interventions to improve and co-design the spaces.

The project aligns with the CEBE vision and priorities in STEAM by using technology for the public good and addressing societal challenges:

  1. Green, digital, smart, and sustainable cities, construction, environment and living/working places. 
  2. Emerging and advanced technologies with applications into key priority application domains such as Digital Health, Digital Built Environment, Smart Manufacturing and Digital Productivity.

The project contributes to our faculty’s equity, diversity, and inclusion goals by empowering teenage girls and addressing the underrepresentation of women in urban planning and design. The project also has internationalisation aims as the approach and outcomes can be replicated in other cities globally, contributing to more inclusive urban planning and design practices.

The project is interdisciplinary, drawing from various disciplines such as urban planning, human geography, urban design, computer science, and user experience design. The proposed team has experience in interdisciplinary research and aims to explore synergies and common ground through teenage girls' experiences of the city.

The project's aims and objectives include understanding teenage girls' experiences of active spaces, co-designing inclusive and safe spaces using digital research methods, developing interactive digital interventions, and generating transferable design principles and prototypes. The project will be carried out through scoping the field, conducting co-design workshops, trialling, and evaluating digital interventions, and organising workshops with stakeholders.

The outputs and outcomes of the project include academic papers, presentations at conferences, and future grant applications. Non-academic outputs include influencing local policies and practices, creating more inclusive active spaces, and establishing partnerships for further collaboration. The project will also contribute to the development of digital society research skills for the team members and engage teenage girls in critical digital inquiry.

The project will handle data in accordance with GDPR and ethical protocols, ensuring data security, and sharing in line with guidance. Ethical considerations include obtaining consent, respecting participants' rights and dignity, and ensuring research transparency and integrity. Ethics approval will be sought from the institutional ethics committee.

Anticipated Findings and Contribution to Knowledge 

The proposed research project aims to investigate the experiences of teenage girls in urban environments and explore the potential of digital interventions in creating safe and inclusive spaces for them. The anticipated research findings from this project will represent a significant contribution to new knowledge in several key areas.

Firstly, the project will provide insights into the specific challenges and needs faced by teenage girls in urban settings. By conducting interviews, surveys, and observational studies, the research will shed light on the factors that impact their sense of safety, well-being, and participation in physical activities. This understanding will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the barriers and opportunities for girls' empowerment in urban environments.

Secondly, the project will explore the effectiveness of digital tools and interventions in addressing these challenges. By developing and implementing digital solutions such as mobile applications or online platforms, the research will assess their impact on the girls' experiences and engagement. This will offer valuable insights into how technology can be harnessed to create inclusive spaces that promote girls' agency, social connections, and physical activity.

Furthermore, the project aims to develop principles and guidelines for designing gender-responsive urban spaces. By analysing the research findings and engaging with stakeholders, the project will generate recommendations for urban planners, policymakers, and community organisations to create more equitable and inclusive cities. These recommendations will contribute to the emerging field of gender-responsive urban design and provide practical strategies for fostering safe and empowering environments for teenage girls.

The anticipated research findings from this project will contribute to new knowledge by advancing our understanding of the experiences of teenage girls in urban environments, exploring the potential of digital interventions, and providing actionable recommendations for creating more gender-responsive cities. This knowledge will have implications for urban planning, public policy, and community development, ultimately working towards the goal of creating inclusive and empowering spaces for all.